Since releasing his debut LP, 21st Century Liability, in 2018, and 2020’s celebrated weird!, British artist YUNGBLUD (Dominic Harrison) has become a voice for a misunderstood generation, turning external environmental pressures into rallying cries for outsiders. Pop-punk rock was his weapon for most of his career; now, on his self-titled third record, there’s ’70s punk (“The Funeral”), New Wave (“Tissues”), energetic emo (“Memories”), Britpop (“Sweet Heroine”) and so much more. “YUNGBLUD is a community; YUNGBLUD is a movement,” Harrison tells Apple Music. “It's a community where you can be truly yourself. And by finding that community on the first two albums, I felt like I was allowed to write a record about me because I feel protected.” And on YUNGBLUD, he’s never sounded so vulnerable. “I recorded the whole album in a bedroom in Glendale,” he tells Apple Music. “It felt like I was making my first album again. It was so raw.” Below, YUNGBLUD walks us through his third studio album, track by track. “The Funeral” “I had a fire in my belly. Everyone had an opinion on me. The world had an opinion on me—the internet, my mom, my dad, my label, my fans, my management. Every fucking person had an opinion on where I should go. And I got fucking exhausted. I felt like I was 15 years old again in fucking high school, getting shoved into a locker. I always work best when I've got to kick back against the bear who's biting me, and I've got to bite it back.” “Tissues” “It samples ‘Close to Me’ by The Cure. I fucking get the song. I get Robert Smith's email, I email him ’cause I've met him at the NME Awards a couple years before. And then he loved the song and let me use the sample. Cleared it. Crazy. What the fuck?” “Memories” “I've never put a feature on one of my albums. I've always been separate, but I love this song. I think it was brilliant. WILLOW is the truth for me. She's fucking nuts in the best way possible. You'll catch her on a good day, you'll catch her on a bad day, but she's fucking real. She reminds me a little bit of Amy Winehouse. A lot of people might crucify me for that, but I don't give a fuck ’cause it's true.” “Cruel Kids” “Me and [Bastille’s] Dan [Smith]. I always respected Dan. Great fucking writer. He came by the studio one day, and I played him this idea. When you meet artists, they can send you in a different direction. A lot of people don't know I really love Radiohead. And I really love Kid A. I really love the reverse snares and the madness of it all. We went down in that direction.” “Mad” “I just wanted to be like, 'I feel like I'm going fucking insane right now. And I don't know how to express it. I don't know what to say. I don't know how to. I'm just going fucking crazy and that's it.'” “I Cry 2” “‘Everyone online keeps saying I’m not really gay/I’ll start dating men when they go to therapy’—I love that line. It's so playful. It's probably going to get me in trouble, but I'm down. This song started because one of my mates was getting really upset and really emotional, but he found it really hard to express himself emotionally. There’s such a big stigma against males expressing their emotions. If you're hurting, it means you're alive. And, 'Mandy's on the counter kissing Charlie's neck/And your best mate's girl to your best made bed' is a drug reference; it's about MDMA and cocaine, but also a party where you've lost control. You don't know who the fuck's in your house because you're blocking out real feelings so much.” “Sweet Heroine” “I wrote this song in London, and I was completely nocturnal for weeks. We came from LA, and we stayed in LA time. It was a beautiful way of writing. I was in London, in the cold with my friends from LA, showing them my stomping grounds, taking Americans to fish and chips for the first time, feeling fucking Britpop, was wearing exclusively Fred Perry. And that song is about someone who really pulled me out of a really dark place in my life.” “Sex Not Violence” “I loved Green Day, American Idiot: one acoustic guitar down the middle, electrics panned left and right. One acoustic loud as fuck, straight down the middle. And I was like, ‘I'm stealing that. No one's done that for ages.’ It gives it such an urgency and a movement. And there’s such a simple power in singing and describing sex. The connection, the trust, the feeling of euphoria, the metaphor that love will always win over hate, because I love sex. I love having sex. I love talking about sex. I love exploring sex in all its forms.” “Don’t Go” “So funny: This song almost didn't make it onto the record. I wrote it in an hour in London. Start to finish, production as well, and that frightened me. ’Cause normally so much thought goes into the music. And this song didn't mean fucking nothing to me until three weeks later, when I'd written it off as a whatever tune.” “Don’t Feel Like Feeling Sad Today” “I wrote it when I didn't want to get out of bed. I was so fucking exhausted about not wanting to get out of bed. I turned to the side of my bed where I've got a notepad in case any ideas come in my sleep. And I wrote, 'I don't feel like feeling sad today.' But fuck that. I don't want to feel sad right now. And then it just fucking felt like a T-shirt. I was listening to a lot of Ramones, and went for a one-minute, two-minute punk hit, 'Bonzo Goes to Bitburg' vibe. I had the lyric, I had the fucking title, and it just fucking happened. Like when you listen to The Libertines or the Arctic Monkeys or Oasis and it's all feeling first.” “Die for a Night” “I brought in a really good friend of mine, a kid called Jordan Brasko Gable. I met this fucking little twat in a Thai restaurant, and he's got a Karl Marx book in his back pocket. I rolled my eyes but he was so intellectual. We spoke about Kurt Vonnegut and Oscar Wilde, and now he's a songwriter. He pushed me on my lyricism. He sat opposite me and was like, 'No, you can say that better. Morrissey would say that better. John Lydon would say that better. Fucking Alex Turner could say that better.' He challenged me. It's when I came up with 'Pain is language I can read/So I'd rather remain illiterate tonight so I can sleep'—his eyes lit up and I was like, 'I know I've got something.'” “The Boy in the Black Dress” “I basically wrote a poem about every significant moment that had made me grow up a year in a second about my life. The first time I got punched, the first time a teacher ridiculed me for wearing make-up, the first time the internet came after me and where I'm at right now. It was the first time I felt pain, and it was really cool to write that song. And the instrumentation: That’s a toy keyboard from Walmart; all those sounds were made on guitars and a toy keyboard.”

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